The Gap Year: October ‘adventure’

Another month where you might not consider what we did to be an adventure, but I do.


Because we didn’t go away anywhere or do anything exotic, and yet it was both familiar and unfamiliar, and quietly entrancing.

We stayed at home (mostly), and ‘practised’ being retired.

Which for me at least meant savouring the newish pleasure of not having to fit to someone else’s timetable of what to do when.  Having more days with nothing scheduled when we could decide spontaneously to do something (or not).  Having time to fit in the things we wanted (or needed) to do, and getting on with them.   And I have done all sorts of things I wanted to do.

I found it refreshing after the busy-ness of the summer months.


We hosted our cousins’ gathering.  We went out walking or cycling.  I baked, he maintained and improved his bike, he took photographs, I gardened (at home and at youngest son’s house) and I worked on the allotment.  I swam and I ran and I cycled and I walked.  I knitted.  I crocheted (including a short crochet workshop with Emma Leith, celebrating our October birthdays with my sister).


My first attempt at 3-D crochet – sunset basket


The most unusual ‘birthday card’ I’ve ever had! (thanks youngest son and daughter-in-law)

I had a few days in London, spending time with a friend and with oldest son and daughter-out-law, as well as facilitating a workshop for some voluntary organisations.


An extraordinary place I came across near Brick Lane – wacky, creative, and inspiring all at once

I followed my nose and my interests and found another side to an area I thought I knew well (Brick Lane and Spitalfields).  First the Nomadic Gardens, where I enjoyed the Roving Cafe, with its eclectic inside space – I chatted with owner and chef Hayley, who filled me in on all sorts of background to the gardens and her lovely cafe.


A haven within a haven

Then on to Spitalfields City Farm, where I spent an impromptu hour or more chatting and learning from the very inspiring Lutfun Hussain, who is an accomplished grower and teacher.  She has made it her business to find ways to grow foods native in Bangladesh, and to spread her knowledge through her work at the City Farm.


Edible gourds growing in polytunnel – these are being kept to harvest seeds for next year



We did lots (and lots) of ‘work’ for the voluntary project we’re both involved in, which for both of us meant drawing on and using our accumulated work skills.  He was setting up meetings and discussions which with luck will eventually lead to an exciting new development at the project.  I was working on governance and finance issues –  researching, consulting, and updating policies and procedures.  I am averaging a day a week working on the project, often more, but the thing is, it doesn’t feel like ‘work’ (even though most of what I’m doing is exactly the same as what I was previously paid to do).

I reflect on the fact that I could have lived this way when I was still working.  Because in many ways the difference lies mainly in my head.  And I also reflect on the fact that maybe if I had had (or had taken) the time to recover from the stresses of life before, I could have achieved this head change earlier.  That I didn’t do so (or maybe couldn’t do so) is one of the few regrets I have in life, and something to be sure I build on in my future.

About deborah @ the magic jug

Now I've passed 60 I'm still doing all sorts of things I haven't done before, as well as carrying on with the things I already love. I live a happy life with my long term love Malcolm. In my blog I explore local and low tech ideas, food, growing, making, reading, thinking, walking, and lots of other words ending in 'ing'.
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2 Responses to The Gap Year: October ‘adventure’

  1. Marian says:

    I love seeing what you’ve been up to, Deborah, and I also love that you’re calling it an adventure. Life itself is an adventure, and I for one am quite tired of the attitude that we all must strive to live glitzy and exotic lives and that we’re boring if we’re not jetting here, there and everywhere.

    (But I don’t think you should ever put quotation marks around the word WORK, Deborah. Work is work, no matter if you’re being paid for it or not.)


    • I know what you mean Marian, and the point you make is one I would usually make myself. The sticking point for me is that I’m privileged to enjoy it so much, it hardly feels like work. Which I suppose betrays my feeling that to really count, work must be unenjoyable and paid, neither of which I actually believe. In fact, even during my paid working life, I was fortunate to have jobs I enjoyed a lot (not every moment, of course, but overall). So yes, you’re quite right. But I do hold in mind that there is a world of difference between doing stuff because I choose to and that I enjoy, and doing a low paid job with no satisfaction because you have to.


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